Social Media In 2024 Will No Longer Be ‘Free’ As Membership Subscriptions Become ‘De Rigueur’. 

Mark my words, going into 2024, and beyond, any decent social media user experience will be largely tied to paying for a membership subscription to get the most out of it. This has also become a thing as consumers increasingly use ad blockers which compromises ad revenues for social media platforms. 

The likes of Twitter Blue / X Premium and SnapChat+ have already started this transition with some reasonable success with SnapChat in particular achieving an impressive US$ 20M+ in monthly revenue on this basis alone! Others include Linkedin which is approximately Kes. 7,000 a month whereas Twitter Blue / X Premium is Kes. 3,200 per month. 

Subscriptions have become the holy grail for social media platforms that want to wean themselves off digital ads as their primary revenue stream at the expense of poor user experiences. Social media has never been free — as has been said in the past, we (users) are the product and advertisers are our overlords as they pay for us to see their digital ads with insanely precise targeting based on our user behaviour on the platforms. There is no such thing as a free lunch 🙂 

The other factor is a cookie-less future in the Apple and Google digital ecosystems as data privacy considerations become front and center due to stringent regulations globally. If you see the eye-watering fines that the likes of Google and Meta have had to pay in the EU in the last few years it becomes painfully clear that the wild wild west days of data privacy violations are fast coming to an end. 

More recently, YouTube Premium was launched in Kenya just over a week ago as the latest entrant in the market for social media subscriptions. If you have used YouTube recently you can’t help but wonder if the excessive frequency of low-quality ads has a direct correlation to pushing YouTube Premium. I, for one, am seriously considering signing up as it’s just too much with the ads at this stage! Indeed, YouTube keeps prompting if you would like to sign up?! 

In Kenya, you can sign up for the YouTube Premium student package at Kes. 289 with 1 free month, the individual package at Kes. 499 with 1 free month and finally the family package for up to 5 family members at Kes. 949. 

So, in a nutshell, get ready to fork out some decent shillings going into 2024 for the majority of your social media platforms if you want to have a decent user experience, as well as value-added features and functionalities! Social media is no longer ‘free’ as we have known it to date.

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